Like many other countries, corruption has been a big problem in Nepal. It is the major obstacle to economic and political reforms, accountability, transparency and good governance. Corruption has trickled into both private and public sectors, and into almost all walks of life. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) is a supreme constitutional body for corruption control. It is the distinctive anti-corruption agency in South Asia. It has the role of an ombudsman, investigator and prosecutor. It carries out inquiries and investigations into corrupt and improper conduct committed by persons holding a public office. It has the authority to investigate all officials from the Prime Minister to low-ranking public servants. Based on the findings, the Commission may file a case against persons alleged to have committed corruption in the court of law. It derives its authority from the constitution. Any legislative measures to curb its power are subject to judicial review of the Supreme Court which can declare such law null and void.
CIAA focuses on detection of corrupt acts and punishment of the corrupt on the one hand and promotes social, cultural awareness of the evil of corruption and encourages institutional reform to create anti-corruption environment on the other. In this way, CIAA takes punitive, preventive and promotional actions against corruption. Besides punitive action, CIAA carries out preventive functions by sharing and disseminating information through audio-visual aids, posters, pamphlets, booklets, newsletters, calendars, stickers and radio and television programs. It also organizes interaction programs with governmental as well as non-governmental organizations and civil society to discuss and find out ways and means to curb corruption.
Moreover, CIAA has collaborated with international stakeholders to promote anti-corruption activities by sharing experiences and exchanging views in various national and international forums. CIAA has carried out exchange visit programs and participated in training organized by overseas graft fighters such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of Hong Kong and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy (MACA). Nepal has been an active member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Nepal has also participated and contributed in the first and second International Conference of the Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) held respectively in Beijing in November 2006 and Bali in November 2007.
Nepal is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). Nepal has recently enacted her Anti Money Laundering Act, Procurement Act, Right to Information Act and Good Governance Act to fulfill the legislative pre-requisites of UNCAC. Nepal is drafting some more acts including the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, Witness and Whistle Blower Protection Act to further comply with the pre-requisites of UNCAC. The Parliament also is going to ratify the accession of Nepal to the UNCAC soon.
Finally, fighting corruption is difficult but not impossible. It requires a new order of incentive structures so that individuals change their behavior to think differently, show differently and act differently. There is a need for restructuring social order to establish a corruption free society in which public post holders recognize their accountability, fear the heavy costs they have to pay on conviction of corruption offences and get their rewards for being honest. People are to be educated so that with zero tolerance they can refuse to pay bribes. The proposed project finds long term solution to the corruption problem by formulating and implementing proactive plans and programs.
Mr. Beda P. Shiwakoti